Kevin Durant’s future with the Golden State Warriors has never looked so murky.
There’s long been speculation about whether the nine-time All-Star will leave the Bay Area next summer, when he can opt out of his contract and test free agency, but talk of Durant’s possible departure has ramped up in recent days after his spat with teammate Draymond Green.
Naturally, the question then becomes: If Durant leaves the Warriors after this season, where will he go?
Stephen A. Smith listed his top five potential destinations Thursday on ESPN’s “First Take” and included the Warriors at No. 2, acknowledging Durant ultimately might stay put for a variety of reasons. The Los Angeles Lakers checked in at No. 1, which falls in line with what Smith said earlier this week on his radio show while discussing Durant’s future.
Smith’s list also features three Eastern Conference teams: the Boston Celtics, Philadelphia 76ers and New York Knicks at Nos. 3, 4 and 5, respectively. New York might be the most likely landing spot of the bunch, but Boston and Philadelphia already are considered legitimate NBA Finals contenders and still have the assets to get creative moving forward.
The Celtics were one of the finalists to sign Durant in the summer of 2016 before he joined the Warriors, who were fresh off a 73-win regular season and their second straight NBA Finals appearance. They’re obviously in a much different place now, though, and it’d be interesting to see how pursuing Durant would impact the rest of Boston’s roster, namely with regards to budding star Jayson Tatum and fellow impending free agent Kyrie Irving.
In any event, the Durant free agency storyline — one that dominated headlines even before this season — is so much juicier on the heels of his altercation with Green. And Boston will be a team to watch, however unlikely it seems on the surface that Durant will end up with the C’s.